inLieu named Region’s Next Best Start-Up!
We are pleased to announce that local start-up inLieu was named the Region’s “Next Best Start-Up” by a panel of judges at the i.e.* Start-Up Competition finale last night at Richmond CenterStage. inLieu’s founders Kailey Raymond and Geoff Weathersby won $10,000 in prize money to invest in their online service for socially conscious gift giving.
Another finalist, Bonfire Funds, was selected as Crowd Favorite via on-site audience vote through FundRoom, a Richmond-based match making platform for entrepreneurs.
The event, which was sponsored by Tumblr, marks the culmination of the Chamber’s i.e.* Entrepreneurial Trilogy, a series of programming designed to support innovation and entrepreneurism in the Richmond Region. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell made a special appearance at the event to reiterate the importance of small, start-up businesses to the economic future of the Commonwealth.
“The success of the Greater Richmond Chamber and the i.e.* startup competition is a testament to the vibrant community of entrepreneurs we have here in Central Virginia. To get Virginians back to work, it will take more than government policies and hiring by existing companies. Job creation is led by entrepreneurs with new ideas creating new opportunities for themselves and for others. I applaud the entrants in this startup competition and wish them all success in the years to come,” said Governor McDonnell.
Each of the Start-Up Competition’s 13 finalist teams had the opportunity to pitch their business concepts and field questions before a panel of eight local judges and a live audience at Richmond CenterStage. Jerry Fox, a partner at the accounting firm Cherry, Bekaert & Holland, presented the eventual winner inLieu with a check for $10,000. InLieu also will receive six months of free office space at New Richmond Ventures and a $500 credit at local furniture retailer LaDifference.
“All of our finalists, and indeed all of our contestants, should be tremendously proud of the creativity, energy and dedication they’ve shown throughout the Entrepreneurial Trilogy. We could not have asked for a more diverse pool from which to select our eventual winner. It is our hope that all will experience momentum based on the exposure and networking provided during this process. Congratulations to inLieu, and congratulations to all!” – Chrystal Neal, Director of Creativity and Innovation at the Greater Richmond Chamber.
The Entrepreneurial Trilogy was made possible by a network of partners, led by global packaging company MWV, which is headquartered in Richmond.
“It’s been a thrill for MWV to be the title sponsor of the Entrepreneurial Trilogy. Innovation is a cornerstone of our company’s profitable growth strategy, and Richmond is our home. It’s therefore incredibly important that we are able to support programs like i.e.*,” said Bruce Thomas, Senior Vice President at MWV.
The Start-Up Competition was free to enter and required contestants to be either in business for less than a year or not yet be licensed. The winner must establish headquarters within the Richmond Region. The finalists were selected from a total pool of 143 contestants after an online voting period earlier this month.
Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor also voiced his support for the competition.
“Small business start-ups are the backbone of our economy. The Chamber’s Start-Up Competition is a great way to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. By taking a risk and working hard, these small businessmen and women turned innovative ideas into growing businesses that are creating high-quality jobs and boosting economic growth in the region. I remain committed to working on common-sense, bipartisan measures like the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law earlier this year, to make it easier for these start-ups to continue to grow, access capital and improve our local communities.”
About Competition and i.e.*
The first of its kind in Central Virginia, the Start-Up Competition was produced by the Greater Richmond Chamber’s i.e.* initiative, which was launched in June 2011 to highlight the Richmond Region’s talented workforce, make cross-industry connections and encourage new innovation and growth. The Chamber’s i.e.* initiative also produces and partners on programming such as idea salons and shop talks, and is working closely with Governor McDonnell’s office on promoting 2012 as the Year of the Entrepreneur in Virginia.
Finalists, Runners-Up and Judges:
Finalists, in alphabetical order:
- Bonfire Funds
- City Scrapbook
- CompanyBright, Inc.
- Little House Green Grocery
- New Way Fitness LLC
- Richmond Young Writers
- SEELogix LLC
- Shockoe Denim
- Smart Projex
- The ARTisan Café
Runners-Up, in alphabetical order:
- Iberian Inspirations LLC
- Love RVA
- New World Sports
- The TLC Kitchen
- Thought, Inc.
- ViM: Video in Music
- Your Chow Hound
Judges, in alphabetical order:
- Shawn Boyer – Founder/CEO, Snagajob
- Alejandro (Alex) Cedeno – Vice President of Global Innovation, MWV; member, MWV Operating Council
- Moses Foster – Founder/Sr. Director of Creative Development, West Cary Group
- C. Mason Gates – Serial Entrepreneur and Principal, The InnoVArium
- Hank Greenberg – Business Owner, Roan
- Steve Hutcherson – Entrepreneur/Product Developer/ Business Owner /Co-Founder, The InnoVArium
- Satya Rangarajan – Chief Operating Officer/Co-Founder, Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc.
- Ting X – Creator/President, Evergreen Enterprises
Entrepreneurial Trilogy Partners:
Trilogy Presenting Sponsor – MWV
Award Sponsor – Cherry, Bekaert & Holland
Start-Up Competition Sponsor – Tumblr
Idea Showcase Sponsor – Union First Market Bank
Patent Powerhouse Sponsor – Troutman Sanders
Trilogy Gold Sponsor – Altria
Trilogy Silver Sponsor – Markel
Online Media Sponsor – Work It, Richmond
Print Media Sponsor – Style Weekly
Website Sponsor – 28 Media
Outdoor Media Sponsor – Next Media Outdoor
About the Chamber:
Since 1867, the Greater Richmond Chamber (www.GRCC.com) has taken the lead to enhance and institute change in the Richmond Region, making the region an ideal location for businesses to prosper. The Chamber, a not-for-profit business membership association with more than 1,300 members and a professional staff of 24, is a catalyst for business development and the voice of business in Greater Richmond.
Director of Marketing
Greater Richmond Chamber